Museums with Games and other Public / Private Collections of Games


For those interested in games, there are a multitude of collections, both official and private all over the world. Our list of game collections is not exhaustive - if you know of more collections, libraries or museums featuring a significant games element, please let us know.

National Museum Local Museum Library Company Owned Private Collection Other All


NameDescriptionMain WebsiteOther WebsiteExamples in GARD
The Bodleian LibraryThe Bodleian Library collections include the H.J.R. Murray Papers and the John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera (which in our site has a separate Collection entry). More detailed information on the games content of The Bodleian, and specifically the John Johnson Collection, can be seen in a fuller note by clicking on The Bodleian Library in the Name column here. The recent additions mean that the Bodleian is probably now one of the nation's largest archives of British printed games from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.The BodleianThe Oxford Digital Library13 Examples
The British LibraryThe Britsh Library's Map Room holds a fair number of geographical games, mostly map-based, and the map-room collection can be searched separately by selecting 'cartographic items' from the catalogue subset menu on the website (although there are no images). The British Library incorporates the National Archive of Newspapers and periodicals at Colindale.The British Library
The Cotsen Collection, Princeton UniversityEighteenth and nineteenth century British games form part of the Cotsen Collection of Children's Literature at Princeton University. A catalogue is being prepared by the Librarians.Cotsen Children's Library
The John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera (Bodleian)One of the most important collections of printed ephemera in the world assembled by John de Monins Johnson between c.1923 and 1956. The majority of material is British and dates from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. There are over 1 million items in the original collection but additions have been made since. Most printed games, toys and puzzles from the Ballam collection are being added to the catalogue there, as are the Donald Welsh collection of Card Games and Playing Cards, and the Mary Gardner Collection of Happy Families card games. There is more detail in the Detailed Information note for the Bodleian Library (see above) Examples
The Osborne Collection at the Toronto LibraryThe Osborne book collection at Toronto Public Library includes a good collection of table games and puzzles for children some exhibited and catalogued in 1997 under the title “Ingenious Contrivances” by Jill Shefrin.The Osborne Collection11 Examples
The Parker Collection of GamesHeld at Birmingham Central Library. Games are gradually being catalogued.Birmingham Library9 Examples
UCLA Childrens Books collectionHas at least two important British items Wooden boxes Cabinet of Fishes and Cabinet of Various Objects by Marshallwww.library.ucla.edu1 Examples
University of Columbia, N.Y.Two resources at the University with important information and Examples of games are the Teachers' College Library and the Children's Historical Collections